Baby’s sense of touch and tactile development.
Soon after her birth magnificent parents support baby to do her OMSDEP by helping her to develop her natural sense of touch. They help her to develop her natural sense of touch by gently massaging her body. How and why this is done is explained below.
Massage: a joy for baby and a loving joy for mother and father.
Nature has planned baby’s touch development very well as the more baby is touched in loving and enjoyable ways the more her ability to feel touch develops. Baby’s OMSDEP at this time in her life is to be lovingly touched and gently and enjoyably massaged by her parents.
Baby loves to be massaged; she enjoys feeling the gentle touch of other human beings. Feeling the gentle, caring touch of other human beings helps baby to feel safe, loved and cared for in her new world. Massage also provides parents with a means of expressing their love in a practical way and helps them to relate and bond well to their new baby.
You can start massaging baby at any age but it is best to start on her birth-day as soon as you and baby are ready. There is no need for you to have a diploma in massage or to have a high level of expertise in massage to start the process of giving your child joy, happiness and good development by massage. Baby massage is something almost every parent can do; easily. And the magnificentchildren.love method is very easy, as you will soon discover. Parents who wish to be more professional about massaging their baby can do massage courses or read some of the many massage books that are available, especially the books about massaging babies. In general though, there is little to be gained by doing more complex massage than is recommended here.
If baby is awake and does not have any health problems then she is ready for a massage. Even if she is sleeping she can enjoy a very gentle massage for a few minutes or more. Magnificentchildren.love baby massage can mean light stroking of the child if that is all parents feel safe to do. Parents who feel more confident of their expertise can explore gentle rolling of the child’s muscles and skin between parent’s fingers and thumbs. Massage is not meant to hurt babies or children and, as you learn the touch or massage that baby most enjoys, you can do more gentle rolling. Be gentle, but try not to be so gentle that baby can barely feel your touch. Be gentle, but gently firm. It is the firm touch that will most benefit baby as it most suitably stimulates her cells, nervous system and brain. And her brain will actually grow and organise its ability to feel touch as your massaging provides messages from her skin and muscles to her nervous system and brain. Baby’s sense of touch is inexperienced at this time and it grows by positive experiences stimulated by your massaging and safe, loving touch.
A good sense of touch makes life more enjoyable:
The sense of touch is crucial to human survival; without a sense of touch we would not feel pain and take steps to remove the cause of the pain. The cause could be a malaria-carrying mosquito as it pierces our skin or an unseen splinter piercing into our foot. Without a sense of touch we would also have difficulty putting food into our mouths, be unable to find coins in our pockets, and walking would be almost impossible as we would not feel when to stop putting our forward foot down; nor when to lift it up. Adults experience what life can be like without a sense of touch when they sit for too long in one position and get ‘pins and needles’ in their legs. When they try to stand up and walk they might stumble or perhaps even fall, or they may decide to wait for a short time until the ‘pins and needles’ have gone. The ‘pins and needles’ indicate that the sense of touch is not working effectively, and stumbling or falling is a common result.
So-called ‘clumsy’ people usually have a poor sense of touch. Their bodies hit objects such as doorways, chairs and vases because they are unable to feel well enough with their feet to adjust their position and avoid collisions. (The original meaning of the word clumsy was “numb with cold” and when a person is numb her tactile sense is significantly reduced). Contrary to being clumsy, excellent dancers remain finely balanced while spinning on their toes by using their sense of touch to finely adjust the positions of their toes. Similarly, experts at sports such as tennis, cricket, baseball, hockey, football, golf and bowls have an excellent sense of touch that allows them to feel how much pressure is required and at what angle they should place their foot, hand, bat or racket at the moment of hitting, catching or releasing a ball. Although the other senses (such as sight) also play a part, without a sense of touch accurate releasing, catching or hitting of a ball is almost impossible. And with an excellent sense of touch; excellent releasing, catching or hitting of a ball, and other play activities, are made possible.
Baby’s first massage:
You can begin baby’s massage by gently stroking her first on the back, side, chest, head, arms or legs and then, after about 30 seconds, begin stroking another limb or another part of her body. Doing this you will have stroked (massaged) the whole of baby’s body in about 6.5 minutes. If this is a totally new experience for you then you might find it requires your constant attention to every detail as you massage. After three or four days of massaging baby three times each day you should find the process becomes ‘second-nature’ and can be done with ease as you enjoy loving your child and observing her development.
After 3 or 4 days of stroking 3 times each day you can begin to pay more attention to baby’s muscles and areas such as the fingers and toes. Look closely at baby’s fingers and toes and try gently rolling them between your index finger and thumb for about ten seconds for each finger and toe. Roll them gently only about 1 or 2 millimetres to the left and right, repeatedly, for the ten seconds. This will take another 200 seconds, about 3.5 minutes. Your total massage time is now about 8.5 minutes on each of three occasions each day. That is a total of 25.5 minutes each day. You can give baby 6 or more massages each day while she is awake if you wish. But you will need to decide if you have enough time for other magnificent children activities if you increase the amount of time spent massaging.
It is possible that your child will still be asking you for massages when she is 5, 6 or 7 years old. At that time, for your convenience, you may decide to limit massages to one at bedtime each day or two, or some other suitable time. Being massaged is a very pleasant way for children (and tired parents!) to go to sleep. There is more information about reducing the number of massages when you get to Grow Your Magnificent Child at Level 4.
Two areas for special massaging attention:
When massaging baby from birth until she is about 2.5 months old give extra attention to the soles of her feet and the palms of her hands. Each sole and each palm can be given twenty seconds of massaging; every time you massage. The reason for this is that her hands and feet have many developing nerves in them that are important for developing body movement and dexterity as mentioned earlier. Your attention to these areas improves nerve and brain development that in turn helps baby to sooner begin crawling, walking and holding and letting go of objects. And, because you massage her, the quality of her crawling, walking, holding and letting go should be improved. Such quality improvements will almost certainly help her to have higher abilities as a gymnast or, if using her hands, as a tradesperson, needleworker or surgeon in the future. It may seem as though these are very small steps in her development, and they are, but you are in fact laying down very important and magnificent foundations for her future. When baby has magnificent foundations she has the opportunity to have a magnificent life.
Magnificent growth activities for parents and babies:
A list of magnificentchildren.love activities follows. These are practical activities for your magnificent child to do with your support. Magnificentchildren.love parents create the environment baby requires to complete her OMSDEP. In many cases, these activities, such as full body massage, are the environment baby requires to promote her magnificent natural development growth.
The activity list sometimes includes extracts of preceding sections as well as new information. The list is intended for use as a day to day checklist for your quick and easy reference but, to fully understand and participate in the activities, you may need to re-read the entire Level, or other parts of this book, from time to time.
Three times each day carefully and gently massage baby by gently stroking each of the following body parts for 30 seconds each:
Each foot, each leg, each side, each arm and shoulder, each hand, her back, chest and head.
Total time: 6 minutes and 30 seconds.
Important note: The three daily massages should be spaced evenly throughout the day. Ideally, there will be one massage in the morning, one in the early afternoon and one in the evening. Even spacing of time allows for steady, progressive development to take place. Nonetheless, babies do not run to a timetable and parents will still have to be flexible about the time (and sometimes the place) they massage (or do other magnificentchildren.love activities). Feel free to massage baby if she wakes at 2 AM or any other time of night or day.
Gently increase the firmness of your massage to each foot, each leg, each side, each arm, the back, the chest and the head over the next few days.
Total additional time 3 minutes and 20 seconds.
After three or four days continue to massage baby as previously described but now also begin to gently roll each finger and toe just one or two millimetres back and forth between your index finger and thumb for about 10 seconds for each finger or toe.
Your total massage time is now about 10 minutes on each of three occasions each day. That is a total of about 30 minutes each day.
It is recommended that you now begin to plan how much time you will need for other magnificentchildren.love activities before increasing the amount of time spent massaging baby each day. If you wish you can give baby six or more massages each day while she is awake why you are not doing other magnificentchildren.love activities.
Read the book "Magnificent Aquatics and Swimming".
When baby spends time in water she has the opportunity to experience considerable tactile stimulation. Therefore aquatics and swimming are valuable activities for baby at this level of development.
Congratulations! You have now completed reading about the first of the seven magnificentchildren.love growth areas.
You have read Level 1 of “Feeling Well: Baby’s sense of touch and tactile development.” If you have the opportunity to put Feeling Well into practice now, please massage your magnificent baby now!
Although magnificentchildren.love avoids using technical language there are times when the technical term is the easiest term to use, for that reason the term ‘tactile’ is sometimes used.
Feeling Well is a touch or, said technically, a ‘tactile’ development program. Technically the sense of touch is referred to as the ‘tactile’ sense. Tactile means of, affecting, relating to, or having a sense of touch.
When to move on to the next Feeling Well Level:
At the end of each Level in this book, there is a section titled “What baby should be doing as she enters the next Level of development”. When baby is doing what is stated in that section then that is evidence that she has grown and she is ready to begin the activities at the next higher Level. Therefore, read the statement when you begin any new Level and, when baby has grown and does as stated, move on to the next Level by reading about it, beginning the activities at the new Level, and stopping the activities at the lower Level. If baby and yourself wish to continue to do any activities that are at a lower Level then continue to do so but, the time is usually better spent doing the new activities at the higher Level well.
What baby should be doing as she enters the next Level of development:
When baby does what is stated below then she has completed this Level of development and it is time to read the information, and to begin the activities at, the next Level of development. When baby does as is stated below in items 1 and 2 then she has successfully completed her OMSDEP for “Level 1. Feeling Well. Baby’s sense of touch and tactile development” and is ready to commence “Level 2. Feeling Well. Baby’s sense of touch and tactile development.” The fact that baby can experience and/or do what is stated below is evidence that clearly indicates that her tactile senses are developing well and she is ready to move on to Level 2.
Baby should feel hot and cold and indicate that she feels uncomfortable with too much heat or cold.
Although we obviously do not want baby to feel too hot or too cold the fact that she can feel uncomfortably hot or cold clearly indicates that her sense of touch is now working well at Level 1, and she is therefore ready to go on to Level 2.
If anything happens to hurt baby, anywhere on her body, she should feel pain immediately and she will cry or try to move away from the pain. Pain can also be internal and be caused by hunger.
Although we obviously do not want baby to be in pain the fact that she can feel pain clearly indicates that her sense of touch is now working well (at Feeling Well Level 1). She is therefore now a graduate to the next Level, Feeling Well Level 2. Click on the diploma below to move on to Level 2.
An average child is likely to move on to Level 2 at approximately age 2.5 months.
A magnificentchildren.love child could potentially move on to Level 2 at approximately age 1 month.